Lauren Melodia

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/11/17/art.melodia.jpg caption=”Lauren Melodia sells fresh fruits and vegetables in her Brooklyn neighborhood each week.”]
Have you seen an eggplant before? What about an acorn squash? I have, and you may have, too. But Lauren Melodia has found a lot of people who haven’t.

In an effort to help her community eat healthier and fresher foods, she started a Community Supported Agriculture project. Every week, Melodia hands out vegetables and fruit to residents in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. She encourages her neighbors to stop eating food out of a box that has ingredients they can’t pronounce.

CSAs are popping up countrywide because they’re a mutually beneficial partnership between a local farm and a community. The residents provide a stable financial base for the farm. In turn, the farm provides affordable produce for the people — food they might have never seen before, but can certainly pronounce.

Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview

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16 Responses to Lauren Melodia

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think this is a great thing for the farmers and the communities. For Lauren and others to do this on a volunteer basis is amazing and to be commended. Maybe if it was real cheap I’d learn to like an eggplant:) I just discovered I like curried butternut squash soup, so I’m all for broadening our horizons in regards to using farm fresh produce when we can. One thing that drives me crazy at the grocery store is that produce is so costly! This would be really helpful.

  2. Aldo says:

    The media really should produce more articles like this one. The audience is saturaded with sensationalist press and its daily tragedies. So many great things to be proud of and most of time it’s unheard to most of us. Let’s start planting positive things to receive the same or greater things back. Starting with our attitude towards others.

  3. kenny1968 says:

    we all sit and express our emotions, our opinions, and share our thoughts. this is amazing and it is at it`s best what we live and fight for. (I hope) the question is who are you and more importantly what would you do to keep it. I myself have 2 things to lose-everything and nothing. age and wisdom have the answer to this. i will not lose anything, and i will fight to lose nothing. please wake up, you earned it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    that’s awesome. i hope she continues her effort to help her local residents eat healthier… but i don’t know if i ever would eat acorn squash, or maybe i would?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m not clear how this operation is financed. If this women is handing out free vegetables, who is paying the farmers to grow them? I would love to start something like this at my school. Inner city youth have very little knowledge of fresh fruits and vegetables. This could help curb obesity in our country.

  6. Anonymous says:

    sorry but I fail to see this as being amazing. I too would be interested in who is financing and organizing the operation. I doubt a person can simply carry all the goods to this place by herself. not impressed, work has little impact.

  7. Sonia says:

    I think this is great. Taking the initiative to do something like this is not easy. Most people just sit and think how they can do something good for the world and what they can do with their passion. Lauren just took the first small step. Sure it takes research and a lot of hard work to pull all strings to make it happen, but lets not be negative! This is not easy. I think Lauren’s efforts are commendable and inspiring! Way to go girl! Keep going…

  8. Anonymous says:

    How the program works is explained here —> http://bedstuycsa.wetpaint.com/page/About+the+Bed-Stuy+CSA

    Basically, people buy into the farm during late winter, early spring. The money is used to purchase seeds and labor.

    In return, they get a share of the farm’s harvest each week from June through October (20-22 weeks).

    Actually, it seems like a great idea.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been a part of Hellgate CSA for three years now (in Queens, NY – http://www.hellgatecsa.com), and have been greatly impacted by the concept of community supported agriculture. I met Lauren a few months ago at a Just Food conference (www.justfood.org), and am impressed by the dedication of people like her to coordinate getting farmers connected with communities like hers and mine. It’s no easy task, especially when done in your spare time (yes – most CSAs are 100% volunteer run). Congratulations to Lauren and Bed-Stuy CSA for being featured!

  10. Anonymous says:

    To those who wonder how one could give out free produce…

    Maybe if you acutally read the description, “Melodia gives Bedford-Stuyvesant residents the opportunity to BUY food they can’t get anywhere else…”

  11. Madam1 says:

    I commend this young lady. I have traveled overseas for 10 years now, you wouldn’t believe how many Americans didn’t know what whole foods looked like. There were Peace Corps volunteers depressed and wasting away because they didn’t know how to eat foods that weren’t canned washed, or cut. Many couldn’t identify a single herb in its whole form. Some of the older Americans were just the same. I think this is the worst addicition of all – processed food. Veggies are inexpensive and so diverse, I would love to spread the word in my area and am so proud of Melodia- YOU ROCK and you save lives!

  12. Missy, Los Angeles, CA says:

    Vegetables truly are not that costly when you break it down. I buy a couple of broccoli crowns, one large carrot, one Italian Squash, and one red pepper all for less than $5. I cut it up and boil them with some curry sauce and add a few chicken tenders and serve with brown rice. This is enough for two meals. Isn’t this cheaper and healthier then a combo meal from a fast food place?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think this is a great thing for the farmers and the communities. For Lauren and others to do this on a volunteer basis is amazing and to be commended. Maybe if it was real cheap I’d learn to like an eggplant:) I just discovered I like curried butternut squash soup, so I’m all for broadening our horizons in regards to using farm fresh produce when we can.
    One thing that drives me crazy at the grocery store is that produce is so costly! This would be really helpful.

  14. Pete says:

    Of all the articles above this one and the final one below, this one was the best. You may not have much money, but you’ve done MORE than the others and I tip my hat to you, young lady! Keep going! Pursue your dream, whatever it may be and don’t allow anyone to talk you out of it! You Go Girl!!

  15. Michael Takayoshi says:

    I went to elementary school with Lauren and I have to say she has always been a person of amazing substance. I am so happy that she is being recognized! I am a high school teacher and feel that the opportunities and blessings given to me should be paid back by giving back to the community. Lauren demonstrates a “true” love for her country and community by gifting sustenance but ultimately hope for our neighbors. It inspires me to do more and to be more. I hope she and others like her help to do the same.

  16. Linda bush says:

    Attach a simple recipe (using the vegetable or fruit being handed out ) or cooking /serving instructions with the produce. If the produce really is a novelty to the recipient, the recipe would encourage them to try it- over and over…

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